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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:55 13th August 2011

A Great Start

Blackburn Rovers 1 (Formica 20)

Wolves 2 (Fletcher 22, Ward 47)

Wolves came from behind to smash their Blackburn bogey and get the new season off to a perfect start with Steven Fletcher and Stephen Ward the men on the mark at Ewood Park.

Wanderers kicked-off defending the Darwen End of the ground that housed well over 3,000 of their supporters. But there was almost an early setback when Morten Gamst Pedersen's cross ran through to the far post where it was turned goalwards by Junior Hoilett with Wayne Hennessey bundling the ball off the line in a nick of time.

Seconds later, Matt Jarvis's angled drive from the right of the Rovers area just beat the far post and the outstretched foot of Fletcher.

In the 13th minute, a corner from Pedersen flew through the six-yard box and out to the other side of goal where Roger Johnson headed behind. This time David Dunn took the flag-kick and Hennessey jumped high to claim the ball.

Johnson was shown the yellow card after catching Pedersen on the left-wing before Rovers moved into a 20th minute lead. Jason Roberts controlled a bouncing ball and pushed it forward for Mauro Formica to hit a left-footed shot.

Hennessey got his fingertips to the ball but he couldn't stop it from creeping just inside the post.

A minute later Richard Stearman became the second Wolves man to go into the book with the referee deciding that he dived as Pedersen tackled on the Rovers' 18-yard line.

It was all action and on 22 minutes Wanderers were deservedly level as Fletcher powered home a header after Jarvis had worked a path into the Blackburn area and delivered a pinpoint centre.

Stephen Hunt twice went close to giving his team the lead - shooting narrowly over from 25-yards and then cleverly controlling a Ward cross before turning and hitting a rising drive over the bar.

Johnson was just too high with a header after Kevin Doyle had supplied the cross and after Dunn had been yellow carded for a foul on Jamie O'Hara, the newly signed midfielder dragged a 20-yard shot wide of the mark.

Brett Emerton was booked for pulling back Fletcher then, if first-half stoppage time, Ward hammered a shot against a defender and O'Hara was wide with a first-time effort after he had latched onto the rebound.

Half-Time: Rovers 1 Wolves 1

Just 40 seconds after the resumption Wolves were awarded a penalty when Jarvis was felled in the box by Michel Salgado after Fletcher had fed the ball into the box.

Doyle stepped up to the spot but Rovers keeper Paul Robinson guessed correctly diving to his left to push the ball out.

Fletcher quickly gained possession and sent over a short cross that was half cleared by a combination of the keeper and a defender. But the ball only went as far as Ward who hit a crisp, first-time volley into the bottom corner of the net in front of the delighted travelling supporters.

Almost immediately, Mick McCarthy sent Kevin Foley on in place of Stearman.

Foley was soon in the thick of things and his cross from the right was chested down by Fletcher who looked odds on to score until Steven Nzonzi saved the day for the home team with a terrific interception and clearance.

Johnson got in the way of an on target effort from Formica, the ball bouncing for a corner that came to nothing.

Ward was just off target with a header from a Jarvis corner, and home substitute Ruben Rochina was inches away with a drive from the edge of the box after Hoilett had squared a pass to him.

The tireless O'Hara chested the ball down and, from 25-yards, hit a shot on the turn that was only just wide of the far post.

As the seconds ticked away, Hunt went onto a run deep into the Rovers half before unleashing a shot that flew wide.

Rovers: Robinson (capt), Salgado, Olsson, Emerton (Rochina 45), Dunn, Formica (Blackman 84), Pedersen (Goodwillie 75), Nzonzi, Hoilett, Roberts, Hanley.

Unused subs: Bunn, Bruno, Anderson, Henley.

Bookings: Dunn (36 - foul), Roberts (60 - dissent).

Wolvers: Hennessey, Stearman (Foley 48), Ward, Henry, Berra, Johnson (capt), Jarvis (Elokobi 75), O'Hara, Doyle, Fletcher, Hunt (Maierhofer 90).

Unused subs: De Vries, Ebanks-Blake, Hammill, Milijaś.

Bookings: Johnson (18 - foul), Stearman (21 - diving).

Referee: K. Friend.

Attendance: 21,996.

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